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Game Report: Kuba Downs Panthers 4-1

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(source: www.sun-sentinel.com)

Your Ottawa Senators took on the Florida Panthers  tonight in a Battle of the Basement. With last place in the Eastern Conference on the line, which team’s pride would help them win this game. With Ottawa starting Craig Anderson, Florida counter with back-up Scott Clemmensen as starter Tomas Vokoun was out with back spasms.

The first period was pretty fast paced for two teams playing out the stretch. With the game tied two minutes into the game, Francis Lessard and Darcy Hordichuk  decided to spark the crowd with a spirited fight as Hordichuk wanted retribution for Lessard’s hit on Scott Timmins  last time these two teams met. Timmins has been sidelined with a concussion since the hit 21 days ago. With Lessard’s ice time minimun met (12 seconds), the Sens began to pressure the Panthers. On a poor decision by Florida’s goalie Scott Clemmensen, who came out to play the puck and put it on the stick of Nick Foligno  who was allowed to bascially skate in from the blueline untouched and put a nice move on Clemmensen for his 13th of the year. Foligno’s goal was his 33rd point of the season which is a career high for him and was also his 100th point of his career. It was a physical period with 21 hits in the period as Ottawa had the 1-0 lead after 20.

Video courtesy of HockeyFights.com.

The second period saw the Sens come out quick with Colin Greening  picking the top corner on Clemmensen in close for his fifth of the year. Four minutes later, Michal Repik  responded for the Panthers to cut the lead to one. 34 seconds after the Repik goal, off some good cycling, Greening notched his second of the game and period to restore the Sens two goal lead. With Erik Karlsson leaving the game due to a leg laceration, Filip Kuba  decided to pick up the offensive load from the  back-end and score his first of the year with a slap-shot from the point. After forty minutes, Ottawa led Florida 4-1 but were out shot 26-17.

The Panthers tried to get back into this game, but Craig Anderson  stoned them on every chance. Out shooting the Sens 12 – 6 in the period, Florida could not find away to beat their old tender. With Ottawa content to sit on their lead, the Sens sat back and skated to their 30th win of the year. With the win, Ottawa pulls even in points with Florida and ahead of them in the standings. With 70 points on the year, Ottawa is now only two points behind the Islanders for 13th in the East.

The Positives

Colin Greening broke out for two goals tonight and showed a glimpse of the power forward he could be in the future. With 12 points in his 22 games this season, Greening is impressing me the most of the AHL call-ups this year. Can he translate this NHL stint into a roster spot next year?

Filip Kuba  scored his first of the year as he broke the goose egg beside his goal total. Having a horrible season which started off with him breaking his leg on the first day of training camp, Kuba can be happy with his play as of late.

Marek Svatos  had a great game as he assisted on both of Greenings’ goals. With four points in his last three games, Svatos earned some time on the top line with Jason Spezza as he took Bobby Butler’s spot. Can he earn a contract with Ottawa in his last four games?

The Negatives

Bobby Butler  continues to see his ice time decrease as he was replaced by Svatos on the top line tonight. Without a goal in nine games, Butler is a prime candidate to come out of the line when Stephane Da Costa makes his NHL debut on Saturday night.

Here are the Game Highlights courtesy of NHL.com.

***Three Stars***

First Star: Colin Greening – notches two goals tonight including the game winner.

Second Star: Craig Anderson – stopped 37 saves and bested his old team.

Third Star: Filip Kuba – scored his first of the year and that`s enough to earn the third star.

With the win, Ottawa will most likely push ahead of Florida for last place in the Eastern Conference. With last in the East comes the third overall pick in this year’s upcoming draft and a shot at one of the three studs at the top of the draft. But Ottawa did the honorable thing and came to play tonight. They did not tank the game for the higher draft position and they should be commended for that. Will that help them in their rebuild is yet to be determined. Next up for Ottawa is their chance to put a damper in the playoff hopes of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. ‘Til next time, GO SENS GO!!!

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